Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Wader and Wildfowl Spectacular

Yesterday I spent a very pleasant day with the staff, supporters and volunteers of the Biodiverse Society on and around Morecambe Bay watching the Pink-footed Geese leave their coastal roost and the wader spectacular as the tide ran in.

The Biodiverse Society is a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded partnership project between the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and the Local Record Centres; Merseyside BioBank and Lancashire Environment Records Network (LERN). The Biodiverse Society Project aims to enhance and update data on Local Wildlife Sites across Lancashire and North Merseyside by engaging more people in wildlife recording and supporting and training a new generation of amateur naturalists. The project will raise awareness and value of Local Wildlife Sites and create a well-supported new group of champions for wildlife sites. For more information click HERE

We met near Pilling just as it was coming light and waited for the 'Pink-feet' to leave the roost. It took a while but eventually we treated to the fantastic spectacle of flock after flock of Pink-feet flying low and heading inland to their favoured feeding areas. I attempted to count them but grossly under-counted them due mainly to chatting to a great bunch of enthusiastic naturalists. The count in my notebook reads 4,432, but there was probably twice as many as this. 

Whooper Swans were doing the same and we had 109 of these magnificent birds. A few Little Egrets (four) graced the saltmarsh along with a 100 Lapwings, 155 Linnets and a single Rock Pipit.

After the wildfowl spectacular we headed to Fluke Hall and walked along the sea wall towards Knott End to watch the wader flocks build up as the tide ran in culminating in a 9.3 m high tide at lunchtime that would cover all the mudflats and just leave a small area of higher marsh for the birds to roost on. 

There were a couple of other birders on the day who like me have supported and become involved in the project since it started by supporting some of the volunteers and providing mentoring to some of the staff. As often happens when a few birders get together you often end up talking about birding and the three of us were having a little moan about a good proportion of today's birders needing 'target' birds to go and look at all the time, otherwise they get bored and complain there is nothing to look at! Then when there is something of interest in their eyes they never leave whatever birds/sites they may be and keep continually going back to look again and again! A classic example are the Barn and Short-eared Owls around at the Obs at the moment! My advice to these 'bored' birders is get out birding, open your eyes and look!!!

The beauty of being out with a group of enthusiastic amateur naturalists with varying interests from birds to dragonflies to plants is that they see the natural world for what it is, an amazing natural spectacle that we can all engage with and enjoy. The waders certainly put on a spectacular display as they tried to keep ahead of the fast incoming tide and the Knot were particular amazing as they moved around in an amorphous state perhaps numbering five or six thousand! Every single one of the twenty people out this morning, including me, were mesmerised by this wader spectacular. So come on bored birders with nothing to look at get yourself to a high tide wader roost and if you are still bored and think there is nothing to look at then my advice would be to hang your bins up!

Below are some attempts to capture the spectacle of the amorphous Knots!

In addition to the Knot there were lesser numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits, Lapwings, Redshanks, Dunlins, Curlew and Golden Plovers. Four Little Egrets were around and another amorphous bunch in the form of 120 Twite kept us entertained.

A fantastic morning with a fantastic group of people was rounded off with a very pleasant lunch in a local cafe. Here's to another year of the Biodiverse Society!  

1 comment:

Pete Marsh said...

Hi Seamus. So how many potential WeBS counters? - please contact Jean if any showed a committed interest. Thanks